Monday, October 28, 2013

'last thoughts' 1

This is the first of a series of descriptions and reflections that engage in a poetic discourse with the works of  visual  artists. The purpose it serves is nothing more than an attempt to find a counter voice to the academic mode of engaging with the works and studio spaces of artists/students within an art institution. Perhaps the word 'counter' is somewhat ambitious. I'm simply interested in writing descriptions of what artists and art students create and the spaces in which they make. 

The process evolves within a number of  visits to the studio spaces and collecting objective descriptions. I prefer to know very little of the artist's intentions.There's a method that signwriters and painters use to mix colours where you have two jars of paint and you transfer the colour from one jar into the other continuously repeating the action until you have  the required colour or tonal value. This is called 'boxing' and its just how this process feels.

 At this point in time I have approached several of my post-graduate colleagues who have been very trusting in allowing me to spend time with their works in the studio. I've chosen to photograph detail images as it's often how I find a way into the work. The following descriptions are from the works of Jude Roberts and her tarpaulin charcoal drawings/imprints that form part of a creative mapping project focused on the Nature Refuge at Bimblebox in central-western Queensland.The refuge is under threat of a proposed coal mine within the Galilee Basin and the project has brought together a diverse range of creative people engaging with the environment. Jude's tarpaulin works evidence the fragile histories and hint at the possible future of the interconnections within the reserves Eco-system. With very little knowledge regarding their 'aboutness'...these are my descriptions. 

you as sky /you as Other

canopied gestures of small histories
traced in lamp, vines and mars black
dark anchors colliding like satellites
creaturely escapes
moving across 
arrowed compass ground
the navigations of a child
milk fish (chanos chanos)
and serpent eel
(ophisurus serpens)
caught in your coiled rope wake
you as water
you as land
wounded and black
a butchers floor
bone white tabula rasa
imagined in madder lake red
 wounds now fatal

your moorings suspended in the landscape
sharing gestures 
and just there something repeats
a bird song returning at your very edge
children swimming in your 
leather book pools
as compass ropes pilot each immersion
believing that one day 
one of us would never re-emerge
to lay with milk fish and eel

history made pendant
beast-like bled of its horizons
dripping dispossessed archipelagos
what was it that escaped here?
tailed or winged now flesh
a canopied shroud 
like veiled maps
feeding spaces empty of coastline
the interior
you as sky
you as Other

Jude Roberts: Tarpaulin in landscape.


  1. such well wrought words evoking the sense of process & purpose

  2. Beautiful thoughts on Jude's work and evocative of further contemplation.

  3. thankyou Glen. Very refreshing to read about my work in this way. jude

  4. For more on the Bimblebox arts project

  5. i love this approach to the work of others. yes, this will do nicely.